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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Whatís Great about Modern Role-Playing Games (from an Old Style Gamer)

    When youíve been playing role-playing games as long as I have (since 1975), it gets way too easy to see any change as a problem or a mistake or something to sneer at.

    Iím starting a thread for old players to talk about whatís great about modern role-playing. This is a deliberate attempt to break us out of our easy bad habits, and to look for the great things done by the players who are different from us, or the playing styles we donít enjoy, but see other people doing great things with.

    [If some newer players want to praise some aspect of old-style gaming, that fits in as well.]

    When I started gaming, D&D (and therefore role-playing games) was three pamphlets. The rules fit on 29 sheets of 8Ĺ x 11 inch paper, folded over.

    That's not rules for a game; that's guidelines for a referee (not yet called a DM) to design a game with.

    And that meant that virtually all DMs had to design a world in order to start play.

    I love the fact that you can now start gaming without doing all that. While I never intend to play in a designed world like Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, Eberron, and the like, I think itís great that they are there, and that people love playing in them.

    Personally, I love the fact that there are so many kinds of games that there can be lots of divisions within the hobby.

    I think it's wonderful that the game and hobby have grown so much that there are lots of different ways to play. I think it's great that role-playing transcends age and gender and style of play.

    We were once thousands of gamers across the country, all pretty much the same kind of people playing pretty much the same way. Now we are millions of people around the world, completely different from each other, playing in many different mutually incompatible ways.

    In the game Iím currently running, over half the players are women, and we get gourmet food prepared for us by the husband of one of my players. In all the dreams I ever had about how this hobby might grow, I never thought that might happen.

    However you play, even in games I would not enjoy, you are role players; you are my companions and my allies. You may be as different from me as a Wizard is different from a Fighter, but you are part of my party nonetheless.

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    Default Re: Whatís Great about Modern Role-Playing Games (from an Old Style Gamer)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    However you play, even in games I would not enjoy, you are role players; you are my companions and my allies. You may be as different from me as a Wizard is different from a Fighter, but you are part of my party nonetheless.
    While I prefer to play in person, I am pleased that I can play on-line. This has allowed me to:

    (a) Get back together with my High School D&D group (we started in 1975)

    (b) Join a group on line as a complete stranger, and begin to play with them. We just finished a session last night in the underdark: we are headed to the capital of Drow Land, World of Greyhawk version. old school version.

    (c) Play some games I'd not otherwise get to play: Golden Sky Stories, Mothership, Dungeon World, Great Ork Gods, Honey Heist, Star Trek RPG, Blades in the Dark, and a few others.

    (d) Let me meet some new friends. One couple I met sold me some girl scout cookies (their daughter is a Girl Scout). I got to meet Kurt Kurageous IRL, and he's now part of my Salt Marsh campaign.

    (e) I like that Kickstarter allows for enough capital to be generated to produce decent quality playing materials. Those original three books were not great. (With that said, my original Empire of the Petal Throne rule book was a step up in quality)

    (f) I like that a game like Mazes and Minotaurs grew out of the OSR movement.

    (g) I like that mental approach of "Play and find out!" :)
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2023-07-31 at 12:26 PM.
    Avatar by linklele. How Teleport Works
    a. Malifice (paraphrased):
    Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    b. greenstone (paraphrased):
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
    Gosh, 2D8HP, you are so very correct!
    Second known member of the Greyview Appreciation Society

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    Default Re: Whatís Great about Modern Role-Playing Games (from an Old Style Gamer)

    Clarity. One thing that dogged a lot of earlier RPGs was unclear rules, leading to lots of interpretations... which isn't horrible, per se, but it also assumes a degree of familiarity with the rules to make such decisions. In part, this goes to the increased experience in game design we're seeing; I have more RPG design experience today than the designers of 2e could have had, simply because the games have been going on longer. While we stand on the shoulders of those who went before, we're still climbing up there.
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    Default Re: Whatís Great about Modern Role-Playing Games (from an Old Style Gamer)

    Streamlined maths.
    Dice rolling, looking up tables and counting modifiers was a genuine chore. Reaching itís zenith in the 1980s.

    Since then most games have found ways to either achieve the same complexity with easier to administer systems or simply stripped back the maths to the most important variables.

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    Default Re: Whatís Great about Modern Role-Playing Games (from an Old Style Gamer)

    To me the best thing about modern TTRPGs is the lack of fear to explore different source materials for both lore and mechanics including looking at older games for inspiration.

    One of the benefits of coming later is having the wealth of content to draw from.
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    Default Re: Whatís Great about Modern Role-Playing Games (from an Old Style Gamer)

    Rules that aren't always a contradictory & hilariously unbalanced mess.

    Rules that don't assume everyone is a wargamer, but that almost nobody actually uses that way.

    A huge pile of design theory having being put before the community as a product, to sink or float.
    (Although of course sometimes the exact reason for sinking or floating isn't what we think it was, and also some companies are hellbent on repeating history even when it was fairly clear.)

    A massive body of History of Gaming to entertain ourselves by arguing about it on forums.

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    Default Re: Whatís Great about Modern Role-Playing Games (from an Old Style Gamer)

    I only use "modern roleplaying games" to refer to post-D&D games, with those starting with original D&D. As ought to be clear, that covers virtually all roleplaying games talked about on hobby forums. I don't define the term in contrast to "Old School" or "Old style D&D". The reason being that I don't actually see there being a well-defined style to contrast with "Old School"; "Old School" sort of works due to referring to just a handful of old D&D rulesets, but that means "non-Old School" covers virtually everything else, which is uselessly broad.

    (For those interested, "pre-modern" roleplaying game would be any such game that predates D&D. Yes, there were such games, including children's games, but they weren't talked about using modern terminology, so they can only be classified in hindsight.)

    Another reason why I find answering the question humorously difficult, despite knowing what is being asked for, is that while I do play recent games, of the two codified systems I use, both are throwbacks to earlier decades; Lamentations of the Flame Princess being a throwback to B/X and AD&D (so late 70s to 80s) and Praedor, despite recent new edition, is throwback to 90s. The greatest improvement is in the physical products and their digital support; rule improvements mostly exist relative to earlier iterations of the same game systems and tend to be fairly old.

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    Default Re: Whatís Great about Modern Role-Playing Games (from an Old Style Gamer)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    I only use "modern roleplaying games" to refer to post-D&D games, with those starting with original D&D. As ought to be clear, that covers virtually all roleplaying games talked about on hobby forums. I don't define the term in contrast to "Old School" or "Old style D&D". The reason being that I don't actually see there being a well-defined style to contrast with "Old School"; "Old School" sort of works due to referring to just a handful of old D&D rulesets, but that means "non-Old School" covers virtually everything else, which is uselessly broad.
    Traveller ought to be suffieicntly "old school" to fit, and it wasn't a D&D game.
    (I refer to the original Games Workshop Traveler; am not familiar with the Mongoose Traveler).
    Avatar by linklele. How Teleport Works
    a. Malifice (paraphrased):
    Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    b. greenstone (paraphrased):
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
    Gosh, 2D8HP, you are so very correct!
    Second known member of the Greyview Appreciation Society

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    Default Re: Whatís Great about Modern Role-Playing Games (from an Old Style Gamer)

    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    Traveller ought to be suffieicntly "old school" to fit, and it wasn't a D&D game.
    (I refer to the original Games Workshop Traveler; am not familiar with the Mongoose Traveler).
    2E is definitely more of a RPG with a lot of tools to adjust where game workshop was a toolbox to write your own RPG.

    SWN is combining both into a system and has a usable index.

    IMO travelers is a set of parameters that you could apply to just about any system.

    Communication is limited to the fastest ship

    The vast majority of the system is uncharted

    Stuff changes with or without the players effort. They can change stuff but they aren't far from the biggest movers and shakers.

    Death is cheap for the reckless.
    Last edited by stoutstien; 2023-08-07 at 01:24 PM.

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    Default Re: Whatís Great about Modern Role-Playing Games (from an Old Style Gamer)

    No arbitrary limits on how often you get to use your cool powers.
    No counter intuitive game design choices (this caster class is better for being a martial artist than a monk)
    No trap options.
    No need to sacrifice effectiveness for flavor.
    Your friend doesn't have to stop playing the game that they came over to play because their health hit zero.
    No bull**** that circumvents defenses for no reason.

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    Default Re: Whatís Great about Modern Role-Playing Games (from an Old Style Gamer)

    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    Traveller ought to be suffieicntly "old school" to fit, and it wasn't a D&D game.
    (I refer to the original Games Workshop Traveler; am not familiar with the Mongoose Traveler).
    Traveller is from the right era, but not what most "Old School" games try to copy. I've not played Traveller and don't know enough of its design to say how well it otherwise sits with D&D-based "Old School" games.

    (Original Traveller is still a modern roleplaying game, going by publication dates.)
    Last edited by Vahnavoi; 2023-08-08 at 04:54 AM.

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    Default Re: Whatís Great about Modern Role-Playing Games (from an Old Style Gamer)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Traveller is from the right era, but not what most "Old School" games try to copy. I've not played Traveller and don't know enough of its design to say how well it otherwise sits with D&D-based "Old School" games.

    (Original Traveller is still a modern roleplaying game, going by publication dates.)
    1977? That's modern? SWN being modern I'll buy.
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2023-08-08 at 10:55 AM.
    Avatar by linklele. How Teleport Works
    a. Malifice (paraphrased):
    Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    b. greenstone (paraphrased):
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
    Gosh, 2D8HP, you are so very correct!
    Second known member of the Greyview Appreciation Society

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    Default Re: Whatís Great about Modern Role-Playing Games (from an Old Style Gamer)

    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    1977? That's modern? SWN being modern I'll buy.
    Yeah. "Modern" is 2010s era-ish.

    The Forge / Big Model had run its course and been thoroughly discredited. But a few interesting (and many bad) Indy games came out of that and still drive the market. Notably through AW / PBTA. (Edit: and later BitD)

    OSR had run its course and never really been 'credited' in the first place with a lot of folks not interested in the focus on player agency and strong game structures ... because usually it translated into dungeon crawling meat grinder. But it heavily influenced mainstream gaming market. Notably Mearls consulted a lot with OSR folks when designing D&D 5e.

    D&D 4e was mid debacle (in popular perception at least), Pathfinder 1e was taking off as a result, and 5e came out as a result.

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    Default Re: Whatís Great about Modern Role-Playing Games (from an Old Style Gamer)

    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    1977? That's modern? SWN being modern I'll buy.
    Yes. The start for modern tabletop roleplaying is original Dungeons & Dragons, published in 1974. That is what you will find said if you, say, look it up on Wikipedia: "D&D's publication is commonly recognized as the beginning of modern role-playing games and the role-playing game industry,[5][7]"

    The footnotes refer to an article from 2015 and 2006, respectively. The actual concept is older. This is how a historian or an academic would view it; it's hobbyists who keep re-defining "modern" as whatever was new when they started.

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    Default Re: Whatís Great about Modern Role-Playing Games (from an Old Style Gamer)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Yes. The start for modern tabletop roleplaying is original Dungeons & Dragons, published in 1974. That is what you will find said if you, say, look it up on Wikipedia: "D&D's publication is commonly recognized as the beginning of modern role-playing games and the role-playing game industry,[5][7]"

    The footnotes refer to an article from 2015 and 2006, respectively. The actual concept is older. This is how a historian or an academic would view it; it's hobbyists who keep re-defining "modern" as whatever was new when they started.
    I have read Jon Pederson's books. In his latest "The Elusive Shift" it is clear to me that role playing games as we know them were primordial in the Twin Cities area, then a role playing game was published (had that been left up to Arneson the actual publication would have never happened), and D&D wasn't even called a role playing game in 1974. The role's one played, per Men and Magic, are what we now refer to as classes.
    That appellation - role playing game - came Post Hoc The hobbyists developed that term after the first game was published and began to be played.
    The first citation I have in my own stuff is from the 1975 Greyhawk, in the back, where it lists other TSR products, but I think that usage had developed at cons and in a few of the gamer newsletters.

    With the above considered, "modern role playing" is something that came well after D&D was published and subsequently grew at a surprising rate.

    Based, again, on Pederson's book (and on Appelcline's chronology of RPGs over the years), and my own experiences and memories of what was going on when the Hobby was in its infancy, getting RPG's into game stores in boxes that looked like other games (Basic D&D, Holmes, in 1977 would be a good break point, but maybe the next variation of Basic is a better touch point 1979/1980).

    Which makes Traveller, original, old school.

    Of course, you can argue that Diplomacy was an original role playing game ... if you'd like. I first played that in 1970, but I think it had been published a decade or so before that.
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2023-08-08 at 03:26 PM.
    Avatar by linklele. How Teleport Works
    a. Malifice (paraphrased):
    Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    b. greenstone (paraphrased):
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
    Gosh, 2D8HP, you are so very correct!
    Second known member of the Greyview Appreciation Society

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    Default Re: Whatís Great about Modern Role-Playing Games (from an Old Style Gamer)

    I recently looked up etymology of roleplaying for unrelated reasons and there's a good chance both "roleplaying" and "roleplaying game" are older terms than modern roleplaying games, in several languages (likeliest origin, theatre). As I pointed out earlier in parentheses, there are and have been pre-modern roleplaying games, the classification just has to be done in hindsight. So, for example, Diplomacy is a pre-modern roleplaying game if what a player does in Diplomacy fits the criteria of what a player does in a roleplaying game, regardless of whether anybody called Diplomacy a roleplaying game back when it was published. Naming original D&D as the start of modern roleplaying follows similar logic; whether it was called a roleplaying game from the start is irrelevant to it being the benchmark. Hence, since original D&D was published in 1974 and Traveller in 1977, Traveller is well into era of modern roleplaying games, and easily identifiable as one.

    The classification has nothing to do with originality. That's a different topic entirely.

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    Default Re: Whatís Great about Modern Role-Playing Games (from an Old Style Gamer)

    The increase over time of letting players make choices in character development.

    The change in attitude that the DM/GM/Story Teller while he runs the game is not the Lord & Master. It is his campaign, but it's everyone's game. He's not the Boss of the gaming group for things not related to running the game.

    The change in attitude that "I'm just roleplaying my character" is not a valid defense for playing a character who disrupts the game and/or makes the game unfun for other players. Such players still exist, but it's not acceptable as often.
    Quote Originally Posted by OvisCaedo View Post
    Rules existing are a dire threat to the divine power of the DM.

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    Default Re: Whatís Great about Modern Role-Playing Games (from an Old Style Gamer)

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    The increase over time of letting players make choices in character development.

    The change in attitude that the DM/GM/Story Teller while he runs the game is not the Lord & Master. It is his campaign, but it's everyone's game. He's not the Boss of the gaming group for things not related to running the game.

    The change in attitude that "I'm just roleplaying my character" is not a valid defense for playing a character who disrupts the game and/or makes the game unfun for other players. Such players still exist, but it's not acceptable as often.
    The idea of the GM being the boss is actually much more recent than a lot of other things people accredit to modern design. They were more of a referee and simply acted as a turning test for the rules.

    Overtime they were given more responsibility and authority as the systems moved away from formula based resolution design and needed more adjudication. It just became a nature tendency for groups that the person who had the time to run games also had the time to manage the rest of the stuff.
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    Default Re: Whatís Great about Modern Role-Playing Games (from an Old Style Gamer)

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    The increase over time of letting players make choices in character development.
    The DM was originally the referee (read Men and Magic, it's in there, the term Dungeon Master is not). The DM being in charge, though, on a cultural level began with Dave Arneson's game and his 'black notebook' where he kept track of things that worked and things that didn't...
    The change in attitude that "I'm just roleplaying my character" is not a valid defense for playing a character who disrupts the game and/or makes the game unfun for other players. Such players still exist, but it's not acceptable as often.
    My guy syndrome is alive and well as of this morning. It hasn't gone anywhere. I still run into it.
    Avatar by linklele. How Teleport Works
    a. Malifice (paraphrased):
    Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    b. greenstone (paraphrased):
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
    Gosh, 2D8HP, you are so very correct!
    Second known member of the Greyview Appreciation Society

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    Default Re: Whatís Great about Modern Role-Playing Games (from an Old Style Gamer)

    The idea that the party was an actual social group and not just the ad-hoc group of people with whom you sat down and ran a single dungeon never to see each other again (or at least until next con/FLGS meetup - so glad that was all but dead when I got into the scene)

    The slow growth of non combat problem solving arbitration systems (you always could talk you way around issues but there are a lot more rules and the characters abilities matter more now vs it being the ability of a fast talking/wiley player before)

    Greater character customization in general (a 4th level fighting man, of 7th level magic user was rather fungible)

    There being a greater sense of peace in terms of litigation and inter company drama

    Massive advances in world building tools (things like world anvil and the like)

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    Default Re: Whatís Great about Modern Role-Playing Games (from an Old Style Gamer)

    I don't like complicated builds myself, but I'm a forever GM and I like how players like making builds. D&D and Lancer are both good for that, with players being able to make neat things that don't make other party members useless.

    I like how the latest version of RuneQuest/Gloriantha has moved away from D100 to the simpler HeroQuest system, and is still off the walls if you try to apply earth logic to it. But customization wise it has stepped back to be less 'build-anything by spending points' and more 'pick 3 modules that make up your character' (Race, Class, and Rune). And that's okay, it's a different game than the early version, it can have different goals.
    yo

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    Default Re: Whatís Great about Modern Role-Playing Games (from an Old Style Gamer)

    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    The idea that the party was an actual social group and not just the ad-hoc group of people with whom you sat down and ran a single dungeon never to see each other again (or at least until next con/FLGS meetup - so glad that was all but dead when I got into the scene)
    Its not only alive and well, official play is bigger than ever. So much so that it drives the TTRPG development process for the biggest players (like WotC and Paizo). That's a modern roleplaying game thing: Being designed intentionally with the idea that they will be used for official play. (With very old school games it was assumed, more than a starting design requirement for the final product to meet.)

    Of course, now those same big players are designing with VTT conversion in mind.

    There being a greater sense of peace in terms of litigation and inter company drama
    Either you forgot the blue text or this needs the Bender "oh you were serious, let me laugh even harder" meme.

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    Default Re: Whatís Great about Modern Role-Playing Games (from an Old Style Gamer)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Either you forgot the blue text or this needs the Bender "oh you were serious, let me laugh even harder" meme.
    Oh I am serious. i remember TSR basically driving out competition with legal issues to such a degree that is makes the OGL brouhaha of recent moons more a mark of ill omen than anything else. Now would TSR have lost those cases if it ever came to trial? Yep. But they crushed enough startups by bleeding them dry with legal fees before that point so that TSR basically was the market. now DnD has to put up a level of competition that D&D didn't.
    Last edited by sktarq; 2023-09-06 at 08:19 PM.

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